With No. 13 Seton Hall sinking three-pointers on each of their first four possessions of the game, Georgetown found itself trailing 16-0 after three minutes and 31 seconds. The Hoyas would eventually lose by a final score 78-71 Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Capital One Arena.
The loss for Georgetown (13-10, 3-7 Big East) comes after its comeback from a 17-point deficit to defeat the St. John’s Red Storm on Feb. 2. The Pirates (17-5, 9-1 Big East), on the other hand, avoided a series of late comeback attempts by the Hoyas to secure a win that will help them achieve a higher seed in March Madness.
Seton Hall came out dominant in the first half, stringing together six buckets for a 16-0 run in the first three minutes. The uphill climb from the opening 16-point deficit was a slow one for the Hoyas, who inched their way to manageable deficits of 18-9, 29-19 and 36-30 before entering halftime with a 42-32 disadvantage.
The Hoyas made multiple runs throughout the first half, with timely baskets from junior forward Jamorko Pickett and graduate student guard Terrell Allen keeping the Hoyas within striking distance in a half in which sophomore guard Mac McClung remained absent due to injury and senior center Omer Yurtseven shot one for six from the field.
Yurtseven showed a newfound focus at the beginning of the second half, opening with a putback layup to begin a Blue and Gray run. A free throw from junior guard Jahvon Blair closed out the Hoyas’ opening 8-1 run in the second half to cut the deficit to 43-40 with 17:50 remaining on the clock.
Consecutive baskets from guard Myles Powell restored an eight-point lead for the Pirates with 16:19 left. When the Hoyas cut the deficit to 56-52 and the Pirates made one free throw on the ensuing possession, Powell began to take over once again, scoring on the next two possessions to propel Seton Hall to a 61-54 lead.
The Hoyas pulled within four points of the Pirates on two occasions in the final nine minutes of the game but failed to cut the deficit any more, ultimately falling 78-71 to their Big East foe.
For the second straight game, the Hoyas were without McClung, who has been nursing a foot injury. The burden of replacing the star guard and the team’s leading per-game scorer fell primarily to junior guard Jahvon Blair, a streaky three-point shooter who has mostly come off of the bench this season, averaging 8.7 points per game.
Blair was unable to emulate his performance from the previous game, his best of the season, in which he scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Against the Pirates, however, Blair still notched 18 points, including the first five Georgetown points on their comeback run from a 16-0 deficit, shooting four of 16 from the field.
The Pirates were led from the beginning by Powell, a member of the All-Big East First team for the 2018-19 season. Powell scored 18 of his team’s first 32 points, finishing the game with 34 points on 50% shooting from the field. Powell has long been a threat to the Hoyas, scoring more than 30 points in four of the last five Georgetown-Seton Hall matchups.
Yurtseven proved to be the leader of the game for the Blue and Gray, posting a strong second-half performance in which he made seven field goals and scored 15 points. After a quiet first half offensively, a difficulty the seven-foot center has faced throughout the season, Yurtseven finished the matchup with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with 15 rebounds despite matching up against the taller Pirates’ center Romaro Gill. Gill had a strong performance, recording only six points and six rebounds but supplementing his stat line with eight blocks.
The block totals signaled the length of Seton Hall’s interior defenders and the high-quality shot selection for the Pirates, who recorded 11 blocks throughout the matchup while the Hoyas failed to record a single one despite 34 minutes from 7’0” Yurtseven and 13 minutes from 6’11” freshman center Qudus Wahab.
The Hoyas now await the return of McClung, which could occur as soon as the next game, to help fix a rotation in need of a seventh player, as only Wahab saw any playing time off the bench in a close game in which all five starters played between 34 and 40 minutes.
The Hoyas return to action at Capital One Arena on Saturday, Feb. 8 against the DePaul Blue Demons (13-10, 1-9 Big East) at 12 p.m. The game will be televised on MASN2.